How does a novel entice or enlist us? How does a song surprise or seduce us? Why do we bristle when a friend belittles a book we love, or fall into a funk when a favored TV series comes to an end? What characterizes the aesthetic experiences of feeling captivated by works of art? In Hooked, Rita Felski challenges the ethos of critical aloofness that is a part of modern intellectuals’ self-image. The result is sure to be as widely read as Felski’s book, The Limits of Critique.
Wresting the language of affinity away from accusations of sticky sentiment and manipulative marketing, Felski argues that “being hooked” is as fundamental to the appreciation of high art as to the enjoyment of popular culture. Hooked
zeroes in on three attachment devices that connect audiences to works of art: identification, attunement, and interpretation. Drawing on examples from literature, film, music, and painting–from Joni Mitchell to Matisse, from Thomas Bernhard to Thelma and Louise
–Felski brings the language of attachment into the academy. Hooked
returns us to the fundamentals of aesthetic experience, showing that the social meanings of artworks are generated not just by critics, but also by the responses of captivated audiences.